The closely watched trial of a Palestinian girl for slapping and punching two Israeli soldiers opened before an Israeli military court in the West Bank on Tuesday, but the judge ordered all proceedings to be held behind closed doors in a case that has drawn wide criticism of Israel for prosecuting the teenager.
In the court hearing that was held behind closed doors, the judge chose to extend the detention of the 17-year-old girl until March 11 without giving further details.
Ahed Tamimi, 17, has drawn worldwide attention following her arrest after the December 15 confrontation with an Israeli officer and a soldier outside her West Bank home of Nabi Saleh.
Haaretz commentator Anshel Pfeffer praised the judge's order as a "stroke of genius" that would "prevent the court from becoming a media circus and providing Tamimi, her family, lawyers and activists with a convenient opportunity to put the occupation on trial".
"They understand that people are interested in Ahed's case, they understand that her rights are being infringed on and her trial is something that shouldn't be happening", lawyer Gaby Lasky said.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Michael Lynk and Chair-Rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez [official profiles] demanded Tamimi's immediate release during the proceedings and called for future hearings to be held in strict accordance with worldwide legal standards.
"By refusing to release Ahed Tamimi since her arrest on 19 December, the Israeli authorities have shown nothing but contempt for their obligations under global law to protect children", Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy director of AI's Middle East and Africa chapters, said.
Qaraqe said prisoners would instruct their lawyers not to engage with the courts in any way from February 15 onward.
Israel is violating the worldwide Convention on the Rights of the Child by detaining a Palestinian teenager for slapping an Israeli soldier, United Nations human rights experts said on Tuesday. Regrettably, Tamimi's is not an isolated case, since statistics show that Israel stops and processes 500 to 700 Palestinian children annually in military courts, United Nations experts warned.
"The court chose to postpone Ahed's trial until March 11", Basem told Anadolu Agency.
ISM sat down to speak with Ahed's father, Bassem Tamimi, at the family home in Nabi Saleh to discuss the events of the trial.
"The court decided what is best for the court, and not what is good for Ahed", Lasky later told reporters, accusing the judge of trying to keep the world from watching. "Dream Defenders stands with them and all Palestinians in their righteous struggle", the petition contiuned adding that a delegation from the group had gone to Palestine late past year and met with different communities including the Tamimi family.
After the prosecution read the 12-count indictment, the trial was adjourned until next month.
Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been ordered held in custody until the end of the proceedings, while her cousin has been released on bail. Later that day, Ahed confronted Israeli soldiers when they forced themselves into the courtyard of her family's home. The recent incident of her slapping a soldier was recorded and went viral on social media.
United Nations experts have pointed out that Tamimi was arrested in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, and questioned by Israeli security officials without a lawyer or family members present. It also says her case raises concerns that "Israel's military justice system, which detains hundreds of Palestinian children every year, is incapable of respecting children's rights".